Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | April 29, 2022

Firefighters Practice Emergency Response to Aircraft Crash

By Sean Kimmons U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs

CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- U.S. Army Garrison Japan firefighters took part in their first downed aircraft scenario in more than a year Thursday, as part of an effort to ramp up emergency training at Kastner Airfield.

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, operated by two pilots and a crew chief from the U.S. Army Aviation Battalion Japan, simulated a crash landing that left its tail separated and resulted in severe injuries to the aircrew.

Within minutes, fire trucks responded to the mock crash scene and replicated putting out a fire, evacuating the aircrew and treating their injuries.

More than a dozen firefighters participated in the training, which is typically held quarterly but was last conducted in December 2020 due to limitations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They are professional firefighters and need to respond to incidents correctly, so they want to try to get a lot of training and be prepared for a helicopter incident,” said Masahiro Watanabe, training officer for the garrison fire department.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Joseph Mattos, the aviation maintenance officer for the battalion, was one of the pilots in the scenario and noted the importance of such training.

Firefighters were able to perform a variety of procedures, he said, such as responding to a damaged aircraft, shutting it down and safely removing the aircrew from it.

“It’s still important to train on this stuff, because with the response time it definitely needs to be cut down,” Mattos said. “They can work on that, so it’s second nature if it actually happens.”

While a downed aircraft incident would most likely occur outside the installation and not in its jurisdiction, Tara Rojas, who organized the training event, agreed that emergency crews should still be prepared for the unexpected.

“Here, we can kind of practice in a controlled environment and make sure that we’re taking care of our aircrew members, just in case an accident occurs,” said Rojas, the battalion’s assistant manager for flight operations records.

Rojas said the training also helped others practice an emergency notification process that started with the aircrew sending a mayday call to the Kastner Tower, which then simultaneously notified the fire station and base operations at the airfield, the fire department, medical personnel and military police.

“We haven’t had [this type of training] in a really long time, so we’re trying to get back into the routine of performing these quarterly,” she said. “The overall goal is to continue training and practicing [for] emergencies.”

Rojas said different scenarios could be implemented for each training event to keep emergency crews on their toes.

“[We want to] make sure that people don’t get complacent and forget what their roles are supposed to be,” she said, referring to a possible incident. “Hopefully it never happens, but we just want to be prepared if or when it does.”

Like Us
Follow Us



U.S. Army Pacific Commander Helps Reopen Land Power Forum, Talks Partnerships
Gen. Charles A. Flynn, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, provides the keynote address for the Land Forces Pacific Symposium in Honolulu May 17, 2022. The symposium, which was held in person for the first time in three years due to the pandemic, is the largest of its kind for armies in the region.
May 18, 2022 - HONOLULU, Hawaii -- The U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) commander lauded the return of the Land Forces Pacific (LANPAC) Symposium here Tuesday, as he marked the first time it has been held in person for three years.“The world...

US Delegation Visits Australia to Enhance Health System Interoperability
Surgeon General Australian Defence Force and Commander Joint Health, Rear Adm. Sarah Sharkey (left) and Rear Adm. Pamela Miller, Command Surgeon for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, sign the Memorandum of Cooperation between Australia and the United States, May 3, 2022. This was part of an April 25 to May 4, 2022, U.S. health delegation visit to enhance Australian-U.S. health interoperability.
May 18, 2022 - SYDNEY, Australia – A U.S. health delegation headed by Rear Adm. Pamela Miller, Command Surgeon for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Maj. Gen. Michael Place, Commanding General of 18th Medical Command, visited Australia from...

Eielson Celebrates F-35 Beddown Completion
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Samuel Chipman, the 356th Fighter Squadron commander (right), briefs distinguished visitors May 13, 2022, on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Eielson has a total of 54 permanently-assigned, combat-coded F-35A Lightning II aircraft, cementing Alaska’s status as the most concentrated U.S. state for fifth-generation aircraft.
May 18, 2022 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The 354th Fighter Wing celebrated the arrival of its final F-35A Lightning II aircraft and the subsequent completion of its fleet with a ceremony May 13.U.S. Air Force Gen. Ken Wilsbach,...

Ceremony Honors Fallen U.S. Service Member from World War II in Thailand
Ceremony Honors Fallen U.S. Service Member from World War II in Thailand
May 18, 2022 - RAYONG, U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Thailand -- The United States repatriated recovered osseous material from the probable crash site of a United States aircraft lost over Lampang Province, 78 years ago during World War Two...

Marine Corps Forces Pacific Marine Recognized for Volunteer Efforts
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Brandon A. Brown (right), and administrative specialist with Headquarters and Service Battalion (HQSVCBN), U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific (MARFORPAC), shakes hands with Col. Eduardo A. Bitanga II, Commander, HQSVCBN, MARFORPAC during a Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii sponsored virtual Military Appreciation Month Ceremony Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii on May 6. Members of each service were selected by their commands to be recognized during the ceremony for their outstanding community service. 

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Maximilian C. Campbell)
May 18, 2022 - Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii -- The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii sponsored a Military Appreciation Month virtual ceremony in which U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Brandon Brown, an administrative specialist with Headquarters and Service...